It’s here: 31 days. 31 cities. 31 perspectives. Each day in the month of March, we’re profiling an inspiring woman from across the world and asking her to share her beauty routine, products, and wellness secrets. Consider this your firsthand look into the beauty traditions and cultures of your beauty-obsessed counterparts from Thailand, Nigeria, and more (and don’t forget to check our Instagram for a beauty-themed global takeover each day). Today: Byrdie Australia editor Emily Algar reveals the products and brands that are trending most down under, as well as her country’s number one (free) beauty secret.
Name: Emily Algar
City and country of residence: Sydney, Australia. I’ve been here for two years. Prior, I lived in Newcastle in New South Wales. It’s a quiet beach town about two hours north of Sydney.
Your beauty icons:
Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Violette (French makeup artist).
The skincare products you can’t live without:
Lanolips 101 Ointment ($17); Skinceuticals CE Ferulic ($165); Bioderma Sensibio Micellar Water ($15); Dermalogica Microfoliant ($57); Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay ($9); Rationale Immunologist Mask ($188); Dr. Barbara Sturm Hyaluronic Serum ($300).
The hair products you can’t live without:
Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray ($46); Davines This Is a Sea Salt Spray ($28); Christophe Robin Shade Variation Care in Baby Blonde ($53) (I’m brunette, but this helps with brassiness); Ghd Platinum Styler ($249); The Body Shop Fuji Green Tea Cleansing Hair Scrub ($14).
The makeup products you can’t live without:
Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer ($30) and Blush in Orgasm ($30); RMS Beauty Living Luminizer ($38); It Cosmetics CC Cream in Medium ($38); Benefit They’re Real Mascara ($24); Frank Body Cherry Lip Tint ($12); Charlotte Tilbury Lip Liner in Pillow Talk ($22).
What countries and cultures do you find most inspirational when it comes to beauty and why?
French women! There’s something so effortless about them. I strive to that level of undone yet impeccable grooming. But other than that, I love the way Australian women approach beauty, especially in Sydney. We’re so conscious of what we put into our bodies and how it reflects on the outside. I love how holistic it is. There’s so much emphasis on health and wellness, both internally and externally. A lot of women are more likely to spend money on a Pilates membership or healing massage than your standard facial or manicure. I hear it’s a similar vibe in L.A.
The most popular beauty products and brands in your country right now:
As for products, Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Foundation ($34); It Cosmetics CC Cream ($38); Frank Body Coffee Scrub ($17); MAC Cosmetics Prep + Prime Fix+ Mist ($26); Benefit Cosmetics mascaras; Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum ($98); Lanolips 101 Ointment ($17); Urban Decay Naked Palettes ($54).
The most popular beauty trends in your country right now:
As for makeup, Australian women are very minimal. It’s about nude skin, brushed-up brows, subtle highlighter, and bronze skin. Hair is similar. It’s all about maximum product so the hair looks minimally styled (go figure). Dry shampoo and texturizing sprays are so popular. Soft curtain bangs are also having a bit of a moment.
Favorite traditional beauty secret from your country:
Probably the salt water benefits that come with a swim in the ocean. If it was warm and convenient enough to swim every single morning of the year, I would. It does phenomenal things for my skin and hair. My skin is so much brighter and clearer in the summer months, and I’m sure it’s because I swim so often. I think most Australian women would agree.
Where you buy beauty products:
What does “healthy living” mean to you?
Healthy living to me is doing my best to live a balanced life, both in terms of physical and mental wellness. This means eating well 80% of the time, working out and stretching often (especially as I sit at a desk all day), and doing my best to keep stress levels to a minimum. I make an effort to do something every day that’s just for me like a workout, a walk during my lunch break, etc. I love food, so I try to not be overly restrictive. As for the mental wellness aspect, sometimes it’s necessary to just turn off my inbox and watch Sex and the City or go to hot yoga instead. I don’t think there’s any shame in that. I try not to burn the candle at both ends all the time. My publisher, Alison Rice, has a great analogy she uses in the office: “Your ambition is a shiny car that you can drive fast, slow, or some days, not at all.” It’s not necessary to be driving at full speed every day.
How do you define/practice “self-care”?
I define it as any activity that is done purely for myself, by myself. This is generally in the form of slow exercise like a walk or a swim at the beach (funnily enough, I wouldn’t describe my usual HIIT workout class described below as self-care, as it’s more maintenance). I also love face masks (because, beauty journalist), and jade rolling. Burning candles while reading magazines is another favorite. I buy every magazine every single month. I’m obsessed.
What’s your favorite way to stay active and why?
I live near the beach, so I go for soft sand walks a few times a week, especially as it’s been summer. Other than that, I train at F45. It’s a gym/fitness class that focuses on high-intensity, 45-minute HIIT classes. It’s crazy-popular. I go most mornings at 5:30 a.m.
What’s your favorite healthy meal?
I go out for breakfast almost every weekend to the same café in Bondi Beach, where I’ll either order Paleo toast with avocado, poached eggs, and greens or buckwheat pancakes with white cacao sauce (so extra, but it’s so damn delicious). When I’m cooking for myself, one of my favorites is white fish cooked with turmeric powder, steamed greens, and mashed cauliflower. I also eat a lot of fresh fruit, salads, and sourdough.
What are the most popular wellness trends in your country right now?
I feel like Australians will try any diet once! Things like gluten-free and dairy-free are huge. Vegetarianism and veganism are also quite mainstream these days. Keto and Paleo diets are big, and so is intermittent fasting (three girls in my office are currently on the 5:2 diet). Supplements are big (The Beauty Chef is a popular brand that I personally can’t live without), and things like lemon-infused water, turmeric lattes, and charcoal anything! As for exercise, yoga and Pilates are big, as well as intense fitness classes like F45. There’s quite a big meditation movement, so things like meditation and mindfulness are gaining momentum. Everyone wants to slow down and stop living such busy lives—myself included.
Graphic by Haobin Ye